We had a chance to catch up with to Gavin MacArthur, a participant of 2015 Trail Run Jeju. He did the 100km route (which will be organised separately in October. Watch out for our update) which overlapped with the 2016 50km route. Here, he shared some of his memories and also race tips with us (please refer to www.tralua.com/tr-jeju-tales for his full report).
Checkpoints & volunteers
“Volunteers at the water stations were superb. I particularly enjoyed the first water stop in the dense forest on the trail between Yongsil trail and Donnaeko trail. The volunteers were always cheerful and cooperative, and this station was well-positioned to ensure that runners took the right route to join Donnaeko trail.”
“The race route: The routes were fantastic, giving us a really good feel for the diverse volcanic terrains and natural surroundings, including the montane woodlands and highlands of Hallasan, the Asian pampas grasses and dry pinewoods of Gas-ri and the coastal grasslands and rocky foreshores of eastern Jeju. Challenging and steep for long sections, the trails of Hallasan National Park are a real test of any runner’s balance, concentration and cardiovascular fitness. Even so, the mix of volcanic rock surfaces, dry forest soils and smooth wooden walking trails ensure a good running experience..”
Tips for the race
“Overall, the trail route will favour people with good levels of fitness and stamina, rather than the technical experts. Good shoe choice is important, as the rock surfaces, sand and gravel are not suitable for wet-weather trail shoes. In fact, quite a few of the more experienced runners seemed to favour road shoes with good grip, rather than ‘trail shoes’ as such.”
Last by not least, Jeju Island…
Jeju island is a place that rewards any effort to learn about its many geological wonders, unique micro-environments and outdoor-focused lifestyle.
In the southern city of Seogwipo-si, the local kimchi chim and kimchi gimae sold in local restaurants are ideal for recovering from a hard day of running, while the volcanic carbon baths that can be found at different locations around the island are ideal for easing strained joints and tired muscles.
Any effort that visitors make to learn Korean is particularly welcomed by locals, who are understandably proud of their island, which is spoiled somewhat by the tendency that many people have to throw litter all over the place.
A visit to the beaches of northeast Jeju or Jungmun to the South is also a must. Indeed, Jungmun is one of the few decent surf beaches to be found in South Korea.
There’s also a growing range of outdoor activities – trail biking, sea kayaking and sailing – to keep the more adventurous visitors entertained during visits to the island.